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Estimating Your Kitchen Remodeling Costs

Sally Painter
Man working on a kitchen remodel

You can estimate your kitchen remodeling costs and create a workable budget. You'll need to decide where you wish to spend your money and divide it up accordingly.

National Average Kitchen Remodeling Costs

According to HomeGuide, the professional organization National Kitchen + Bath Association (NKBA) says the national average cost for remodeling a kitchen is $16,600. The least amount of cost is around $12,000 and the maximum cost is $126,000. There are a lot of variables between the $12,000 and $126,000 that include, kitchen size, type of appliances, cabinets, flooring, countertops and other cosmetic treatments. However, the national average range for kitchen remodeling cost remains between $12,000 to $21,200.

Unknown Variables

Sometimes the biggest cost factor that blows out a budget is the unforeseen problems you can run into when doing a renovation. These can be structural issues, water damage and a host of other problems that tack on unexpected costs to your renovation.

Average Kitchen Remodeling Cost Breakdown

Assuming you don't run into any budget busting issues, a budget of $14,000 to $16,000 should be a comfortable range to give you a very complete and beautiful kitchen reno. The industry recommended kitchen remodeling budget is 15% to 20% of the total value of your home. This ensures you don't overspend and can't recoup the remodel costs in home resale value.

Estimating Main Costs

HomeGuide advises you can expect to pay an average cost of $100 to $250 per square foot for your kitchen renovation. However, HomeAdvisor states the range is $75 to $250. The square foot price point differences are in the cost of materials, size of your kitchen and labor/building costs in your region.

  • For example, if you have a 14' x 16' kitchen and you go with the $250 end of the scale, you'll need to set a budget of $56k.
  • If you choose to go to the lower end of cost per square foot of $75, then your budget will be around $16,800 more in keeping with the national average kitchen reno of $16,600.
  • If you have a smaller kitchen than the example given, then you may decide to leave your budget at a higher amount to allow for upgrades.
  • Most kitchen remodels spend 70% - 75% of the budget on appliances, cabinets, countertops, flooring, walls, windows, lighting, and door. The remaining 25% - 30% goes toward labor, wiring, plumbing, etc, depending on the remodeling plans.

Cost of Changing Kitchen Layout

If you plant to change the layout of your kitchen, you will need to increase your budget to accommodate these construction changes that might include electrical wiring, plumbing and even the roofline in extreme cases. Some of the costs you may encounter could include engineering issues for a load-bearing wall.

Percentage of Budget Breakdown

You want to create a budget based on what you need to renovate. This way you can break down the percentages of your budget that will go toward a particular area of renovation. Remodeling Costs reports the NKBA recommendation for a kitchen remodeling budget is divided into percentages in a descending order with the highest percentage listed first. This is a good starting point for planning your kitchen remodel.

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and Ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceilings: 5%
  • Kitchen Designer Fee: 4%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Faucets and Plumbing: 4%
  • Miscellaneous: 1%

Should You Hire a Kitchen Designer?

If you're going to invest in a kitchen remodel, you have two options when it comes to a kitchen designer. Some kitchen retailers have a staff designer that will either work for a set fee or whose services are part of the incentive to do business with the company. If you plan to change your kitchen layout, you should hire a professional kitchen designer. The NKBA remodeling cost breakdown above only allows 4% for a kitchen designer fee. However, most designers charge 10% of the total remodel, minus labor.

Total Kitchen Remodel With Designer Fee

You can change the percentages to suit your remodeling plans. For example, if you find a great deal on kitchen cabinets that are less than the budgeted amount (29%), you may decide to use the saving for an appliance upgrade or an upgraded countertop. The purpose of setting an initial budget is to keep you from overspending. You may decide not to spend any savings you accumulate and simply pocket the money. The choice is entirely up to you.

A new look with kitchen remodel

The budget example below reflects changes made to the NKBA percentage guideline to allow for the 10% kitchen designer fee when estimating remodels at a budget of $16,600.

  • 25% Cabinets - $4,150
  • 15% Cabinet installation/labor - $2,490
  • 14% Appliances - $2,324
  • 10% Designer - $1,660
  • 8% Flooring - $1,328
  • 7% Countertops - $1,162
  • 4% Lighting - $664
  • 3% Backsplash - $498
  • 3% Paint or wallpaper - $498
  • 3% Plumbing - $498
  • 3% Window replacement - $498
  • 2% Door replacement - $332
  • 2% Drywall - $332
  • 1% Miscellaneous - $166

Minor Kitchen Renovation Budget

If you have a minor kitchen renovation that is simply painting the existing cabinets and walls with a few replacements, then your budget will need to be adjusted. If the replacements include hardware, countertops, appliances, and lighting fixtures, your budget will look very different. You may decide to break it down like the following if your budget is around $8,000:

  • 30% Appliances - $2,400
  • 15% Countertops and backsplash - $1,200
  • 15% Installation and labor - $1,200
  • 15% Flooring - $1,200
  • 10% Painting - $800
  • 10% Designer - $800
  • 5% Lighting - $400

DIY Cosmetic Kitchen Remodeling Costs

If you are simply going to paint the kitchen cabinets and walls, leave the flooring but replace the countertop and backsplash, your cost will be much less, especially if you decide to do the labor and not hire a kitchen designer, then you will save 25% of the cost. Your $5,000 budget might look like this:

  • 60% Appliances - $3,000
  • 20% Painting - $1,000
  • 20% Countertops and backsplash - $1,000

How to Keep Costs Down for Kitchen Remodel

There are a few ways you can save on your kitchen remodeling expenses. You may need to be creative, but you can find some great discounts that equaling dollar savings when you spend a little time shopping around.

  • Do the labor yourself. If you're adept and capable, you can save the labor costs by tackling the remodeling yourself.
  • Paint and/or wallpaper the kitchen yourself.
  • Buy appliances on sale. you can often luck up on 30% off sales or a whole kitchen appliance package discount.
  • You can save on cabinets that have been discounted, canceled orders and imperfections that aren't too obvious but require a markdown.
  • Overstocked items are often discounted.
  • Special buys can equal savings. These could be buys a retailer has made, who then passes along their savings in an offer to customers, such as granite countertop special buys or a kitchen cabinet special buy.
  • Purchase overruns or leftover inventory kitchen flooring.

Ways to Estimate Your Kitchen Remodeling Costs

There are several ways you can plan your budget when estimating the remodeling costs of your kitchen. Decide what areas you wish to put the most money and adjust the percentages to reflect the design emphasis.

Estimating Your Kitchen Remodeling Costs